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Patriots, Partisans and Land Pirates in Retrospect

  • Charles J. Esdaile

Abstract

Summarizing two days of lively academic debate is not an easy task, and is one that will not be attempted here. Suffice to say that the symposium on which this collection of essays was based was united in its recognition of the facts; first, that the subject of armed popular resistance in Napoleonic Europe is an area of which we still know surprisingly little that is worthy of further exploration, and, second, that its investigation on a continent-wide scale is not something that could ever be attempted by a single scholar working on his or her own. As in the case of the governance, organization, implantation and impact of the Napoleonic empire, the way is therefore open for a variety of collaborative research projects. Where individual scholars can make a difference lies rather in the study of individual states, territories, regions or districts, and in this respect the hope was duly expressed that the revolts in Spain, Portugal, Calabria, northern Italy, the Tyrol and Germany would all receive further attention. Other topics that were raised as possibilities, meanwhile, include outbreaks of guerrilla warfare beyond the confines on the Napoleonic empire — the obvious examples are Finland and Serbia — and the extent of popular participation in the climactic campaigns of 1812, 1813 and 1814. It was noted, however, that even the more limited approach inherent in country-by-country studies was not without its difficulties: if one thing is apparent in relation to the subject of ‘people’s war’ in the age of Napoleon, it is that those who work in it must be polymaths who are capable of assimilating a wide variety of different approaches to their subject — who must, in short, be able to combine an understanding of, say, agrarian unrest with one of the origins and development of la petite guerre.

Keywords

Guerrilla Warfare French Army French Soldier Russian Army Regular Army 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
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© Charles J. Esdaile 2005

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  • Charles J. Esdaile

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